In the beginning, we didn't know where to start. It's a big planet, so where to begin? When we did set down for the first time, it was in a relatively barren area with few books around. One of them was named "A Guide to Holy Lands and Places." Simple enough, except we had no idea what the word "Holy" meant. There were maps, though, which provided more information than was beamed to us by their satellites, where they spoke of Lewis and Clark and a voyage of discovery at one time. It was our intent, indeed our mission, to write what we saw and report back to our own waiting world. Here are some of the highlights of what we reported.
Image by Vermin Inc via FlickrWe found people bowing down before cows and a statue of a man with a bull's head. And we found another huge statue of a lion with a man’s head. We saw thousands of men with their heads stuck to the floor, their butts pointed at the faces of the men behind them, and sometimes, in the same building, men rocking back and forth together, muttering into their books. In one huge open area, thousands, again, listened raptly to a man with a large pistachio nut hat on his head, garbed in a fancy dress. Some of us have witnessed other mass gatherings where a man walks monotonously back and forth on a stage, ranting and waving a book uplifted in his hands. Stranger yet is the spectacle of a man in a "church," lifting up a cracker the people will later eat, and the people bowing down as he does so.
From distances in space, we observed people throwing their rugs down on the desert surface, putting their heads to those rugs, apparently looking at the patterns in them.
One of us said, "I tried to understand what is the meaning of their word, " rite," as I entered what I thought was an empty “church.” I think I understand " rite" now, for hidden away in the back part of this church was a man humping a little boy." Yet another noted, " There is this place called Mecca, where, again, thousands gathered, and for some reason the men threw rocks, some striking others who were half buried and even killing them.”
Some bury their dead, thinking the bodies will come back to life, while others burn them or leave them out for animals to eat. In some places, sometimes the dead are dug up, to celebrate with the living. We noticed that many people light candles in front of statues like themselves, and we pondered why, since they have electric lights.
Our time grew short, and we gathered together to discuss what we had seen, but as we were unable to even begin to understand this planet, we decided to leave these mysteries to the readers of our report. They, I suspected, would be equally dumbfounded.
"As we depart," asked one crew member, "should we leave copies of our report for the natives of this planet?" Our expedition leader answered, "No, for their written histories show they have killed others of even their own kind for pointing out the strangeness of these behaviors."
We left as silently as we came, looking down on a blue planet of many wonders and pondering what forces could make its inhabitants behave as we'd seen. One small voice spoke up, saying, "Maybe our superiors back home will conclude from our report that we have visited an insane asylum. Maybe that's what it is."
And upwards we went, sailing out of sight as the Captain turned to her mate and said, "I love you, Adonis." And he replied, "I love you, too, Isis."